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No.  68, 


LIBRARY  of 

Cape     Cod 

HISTORY  &  GENEALOGY 

BARNSTABLE  SEA  CAPTAINS, 

BY     F.     \A/.     SPRAGUE 


YARMOUTHPORT,  MASS.: 

C.  W.  SWIFT,  PuBLisnER  and  Prixthr, 

The  ''Register"  Press, 

191R. 


5  7^ 


BARNSTABLE  SEA  CAPTAINS 


In  1840-42  Captain  Caleb  Sprague  taken   say   they     are     desperadoes, 

of    Barnstable,    Mass.,    was    master  and    almost,    you    might    say,    bar- 

of   the    brig    Gummaquid,    built    at  barians.      Correct    accounts      about 

Barnstable.      (Cummaquid   was   the  some    of   those     who     have    fallen 

Indian    name    for    Barnstable.)      In  into   their    hands     are     shocking." 

1843-47    he     commanded     the    ship  (Letter    from    Captain   Sprague.) 

North   Bend    of   Boston,    owned    by  He    also    made   a   voyage   to     St. 

Mr.    Matthew    Cobb    of     Barnstable  Petersburg,    via   Elsinore,    in     this 

and  Boston.     The  writer  has  over  ship. 

his   desk   a   painting  of  this     ship  In   1850,   Messrs   Howes  &  Co.  of 

"entering    the    Texel,    1845,"    by   J.  New     York,     built,     in     Somerset, 

Spin   of  Amsterdam.  Mass.,    the    barque      Rosario.      She 

In  1847  the  North  Bend  carried  was  commanded  by  Captain  Caleb 
troops  to  re-enforce  General  Scott  Sprague.  Aftei-  a  short  voyage  she 
in  the  Mexican  war.  She  arrived  was  sold  to  Messrs.  Loring  Broth- 
at  Vera  Cruz  June  2Q,  1847,  and  ers  of  Malaga,  Spain,  and  put 
landed  all  of  the  officers  and  under  the  Spanish  flag.  From 
troops.  They  were  encamped  that  time  her  officers  (except  Cap- 
three  miles  north  of  Vera  Cruz,  tain  Sprague)  and  crew  were  all 
until    a    sufficient    force    was    col-  Spaniards. 

lected    to    march    toward    the    City  "She  made  the  passage   [in  1850] 

of   Mexico.  from     Malaga     to     Valparaiso     in 

"General  Scott  will  have  two  eighty  days.  She  made  the  run 
thousand  ready  to  leave  Vera  through  the  Straits  of  Le  Maire 
Cruz  on  the  10th  of  July  (1847).  and  around  Cape  Horn  to  Val- 
I  visited  the  camp  often  and  there  paraiso  in  ten  days.  Summer  pas- 
is  no  doubt  in  the  officers  from  sage  and  fair  winds." 
the  southern  to  the  northern  Captain  Sprague  wrote  in  his 
points  of  the  United  States,  and  private  letters:  "I  have  never 
the  privates  also,  but  what  they  fallen  in  with  a  ship  since  leav- 
are  determined  not  to  let  villan-  ing  New  York  but  what  the  barque 
ous  Mexicans  gain  a  victory  as  Rosario  has  passed  her,  and  that 
long   as   there    is    a   drop    of   Yan-  easily." 

kee    blood    flowing   in   their   veins.  Howes  &  Co.  of  New  Y^'ork  built 

What     few     prisoners    they    have  in    1851,    at     Somerset,    Mass.,    the 


/   ^0.^^ 


ship  R;i\tMi  Tor  Captain  Sprague, 
jDUt  he  did  not  arrive  home  in 
time  to  take  command  of  her. 

In  1853  Messrs.  Loring  Brothers 
of  Malaga  huilt  for  him  at  Ho- 
hoken,  N.  J.,  the  clipper  ship 
Gravina.  She  made  her  maiden 
Aoyage  from  New  York  the  last  of 
Novemher,  1853,  lor  Shanghai, 
China,  with  nine  passengers,  a 
part  of  Bishop  Boone's  mission- 
aries to  China.  A  picture  of  the 
Gravina,  painted  in  China,  is 
owned  hy  one  of  Captain  Sprague's 
sons. 

The  barque  Rosario  and  ship 
Gravina  made  voyages  mostly  from 
Malaga  to  South  America.  In  1851, 
at  Guayaquil,  the  captain  mentions 
having  bought  five  hundred  tons 
of  cocoa  for  seventy  thousand  dol- 
lars. In  those  days  some  captains 
not  only  had  power  to  sell  the 
ship,  but  to  buy  and  sell   cargoes. 

In  1861-62  Captain  Sprague  com- 
manded the  ship  Neptune's  Car 
from  New  York  to  San  Francisco. 
The  ship  sprang  aleak  going 
around  Cape  Horn,  and  the  crew 
mutinied  and  refused  to  pump. 
The  ringleaders  were  put  in  irons, 
and  the  ship  put  into  the  nearest 
port;  but  finally  reached  her  port 
of  destination  in  safety.  The  sail- 
ors called  her  an  unlucky  ship. 
(It  was  this  same  ship  that  Cap- 
tain Patten's  wife  navigated 
around  Cape  Horn  because  of  her 
husband's  illness.  This  was  in 
an  earlier  voyage.) 

I  have  before  me  an  illustrated 
card,  "Sutton  &  Co.,  Dispatch  Line 
(up   for   freight).     Ship    Neptune's 


Car,  Captain  Sprague,  99  days  to 
San   Francisco." 

This  run  had  been  previously 
made  under  another  captain. 

In  11883  Captain  Sprague  was 
master  of  the  barque  Chispa,  built 
at  St.  Johns,  and  owned  by  Joseph 
Loring  &  Co.,  of  India  Wharf, 
Boston.  Mr  Loring  was  formerly 
of  the  firm  of  Loiing  Brothers, 
Malaga,  Spain. 

Captain  Sumner  Pierce  of  Barn- 
stable commanded  the  ship  Light- 
foot,  and  later  the  ship  Sunshine, 
built  at  Bath,  Me. 

Captain  Allen  Knowles  of  Yar- 
mouthport,  Mass.,  at  one  time  was 
in  con)mand  of  the  ship  Southern 
Cross.  Many  of  the  Cape  Cod  boys 
began  their  seafaring  life  with 
him. 

Captain  Lemuel  Simmons  of  Hy- 
annis,  Mass.,  was  master  of  the 
ship  Grace  Darling. 

In  the  winter  of  1862-63  the 
writer  was  a  sailor  under  Captain 
Franklin  Percival  of  Barnstable, 
on  the  ship  Charles  Hill,  owned  by 
Charles  Hill  &  Son,  of  Boston.  In 
the  Liverpool  docks  we  saw  the 
ship  Grace  Darling.  When  we 
went  into  Liverpool,  we  were  near 
the  ship  Dreadnought.  "Sixteen 
days  from  New  York"  was  her 
captain's  answer  to  our  inquiry  as 
to  iier  passage.  Her  colored  crew 
were  singing  "Drive  Her,  Captain, 
Drive  Her,"  "Only  One  More  Day, 
My  Honey,"  "Tuskar  Light  is 
Drawing  Nigh,"  and  other  chan- 
ties. A  month  later  the  old 
Charles  Hill  was  burned  by  the 
Alabama. 

Captain       Edward      Percival     of 


Barnstable  commanded  the  ship  A  few  of  the  earlier  captains 
Wide  Awake  of  New  York.  He  from  our  village  (within  about 
was  made  a  captain  at  a  very  two  miles  of  the  Barnstable  post- 
early  age  for  his  bravery  in  tak-  office)  were  John  A.  Baxter, 
ing  command  of,  and  bringing  into  Thomas  Percival,  Ezekiel  Gor- 
port,  under  difficult  circumstances,  ham,  Nathaniel  Percival,  Thomas 
a  ship  in  distress,  with  disabled  Harris,  Oliver  Chase,  Kimball  R. 
officer-  and  crew.  Sometimes  it  Smith,  Allen  Howes,  Joseph  Hal- 
is  "like  father,  like  son,"  for  his  lett,  Thomas  J.  Smith,  Otis  Hinck- 
son,  (now  a  Boston  merchant)  re-  ley,  David  Anderson.  The  names 
ceived  a  medal  for  saving  a  re-  of  their  ships  are  unknown  to  me. 
tired  sea  captain's  life  in  Barnsta-  Captain  Daniel  Bursley  lived  in 
ble  harbor.  West  Barnstable,  on  the  old  stage 

Captain  Elijah  Crocker  of  Barn-  road,  near  Great  Marshes.  Captain 
stable  was  master  of  the  .  ship  William  Hinckley  was  commander 
Akbar,  owned,  I  think,  by  Whit-  of  the  ship  Oxnard,  owned  by 
ney  &  Co.  of  Boston,  and  made  Samuel  Hooper,  Esq.,  of  Boston, 
voyages  to   Calcutta.  Captain     Thomas     Hinckley     corn- 

Daniel  Draper  owned  a  line  of  manded  the  ship  Benares.  Cap- 
fruiters  running  from  Boston  to  tain  David  Swinorton  was  master 
Mediterranean  ports.  Captain  Wm.  of  the  barque  Orbit,  and  made  a 
F.  Gorham  of  Barnstable  was  mas-  fast  run  in  her  to  San  Francisco, 
ter  of  one  of  the  vessels  (the  Captain  Daniel  Percival  com- 
barque  Jehu,  I  think).  manded  the  barque  Sicilian,  owned 

Captain  Ira  Bursley  of  Barnsta-  by  Baker  and  Morrill  of  Boston. 
ble,  son  of  Sheriff  David  Bursley,  Mr  Ezra  Baker,  of  that  firm,  was 
was  executive  officer  or  sailing  uncle  of  Captain  Percival.  Cap- 
master  of  the  steamer  Quaker  tain  Percival  was  lost  on  the 
City,*  June  8,  1867,  which  had  as  steamer  Schiller,  when  on  his  way 
passengers  Mark  Twain  and  other  to  Liverpool  to  take  command  of 
"Innocents  Abroad."  one   of   Baker   and   Morrill's   ships. 

About  1856-57  Captain  Rodney  Captain  Charles  W.  Hedge  com- 
Baxter  of  Hyannis  commanded  one  manded  ships  Cromwell  and  Ash- 
of  the  unsuccessful  line  of  steam-  burton.  He  also  made  a  voyage 
ers  from  Boston  to  Charleston,  S.  to  Yokohama  in  the  barque 
C.  (The  Massachusetts  and  South  Kadosh.  Captain  Gorham  Hallett 
Carolina.)  was  master  of  ships  Midnight  and 

These  are  only  a  few  of  the  Charger  and  the  brig  Nellie 
captains  from  Barnstable.  If  the  Hastings.  Captain  Herman  Foster 
voyages  were  long,  some  of  those  commanded  ships  George  E.  Casta 
who   began   as   cabin  _    boys     came  and  Rutland. 

home  as  under  officers.  They  are  Captain  David  Bursley  w^as  mas- 
all  gone  now,  and  so  is  the  mer-  ter  of  ships  Osceola,  Minnehaha 
chant  marine.  and  Lotus. 


Captain  Elisha  Howes  com- 
manded the  steamer  Morning-  Star. 
Captain  Solomon  Smith  was  mas- 
ter of  the  harque  Warren  Hal- 
lett  and  of  the  Sicilian.  Captain 
Frank  Hallett  was  master  of  the 
briir  Ringleader,  barque  Mabel  and 
brig  Ocean  Belle.  Captain  John 
Turner  Hall  was  master  of  the 
ship  Abelino  and  Captain  Joseph 
Bursley  of  the  ship  Victory. 
Captain  James  Bursley  command- 
ed barques  Wheatland  and  Bound- 
ing Billow. 

Captain  Ansel  Lothrop  was  mas- 
ter of  ships  Pilgrim,  Agenor,  Con- 
queror and  Edward  O'Brion.  He 
was  lieutenant  (acting)  in  the 
United  States  navy  during  the 
Spanish  war,  and  is  now  in  the 
United  States  transport  service, 
having  been  master  of  several 
large   steamers   in   that   servicee. 

Captain  Charles  Crocker  was 
master  of  the  barques  Alice  and 
Sarah  Hobart. 

Captain  Frank  Hinckley  com- 
manded ships  Star  of  Peace  and 
Leading  Wind,  and  Captain  Ben- 
jamin Hinckley  the  ship  Samuel 
C.  Grant.  Captain  Benjamin  Loth- 
rop was  master  of  the  brigs  A.  J. 
Ross,  Alice  Tarleton,  Jane  Adelaide, 
and  William  Mason.  His  father, 
Benjamin  Lothrop,  Sr.,  was  one  of 
the  old  shipmasters.  Captain  Ed- 
ward Titcomb  was  master  of 
barques  Jennie  Cushman,  Wheat- 
land and  D.  A.  Brayton.  I  am  in- 
debted to  him  for  some  of  these 
notes. 

Captain  Leander  Hallett  com- 
manded the  barque  Prescott  and 
went   to   Buenos     Ayres.       Captain 


William  F.  Gorham  was  master  of 
the  Joseph  Balch.  A  picture  of 
her  is  in  one  of  the  old  Barnsta- 
ble houses.  Captain  Rufus  Gor- 
ham was  master  of  the  barque 
Prompt. 

Captain  Albert  H.  Dunbar  was 
master  of  the  ship  Grecian,  of 
Boston,  "principal  owner,  Captain 
J.  Henry  Sears."  She  was  built 
by  Titiomb  &  Thompson  at  Ken- 
nebunkport.  Me.,  in  1876.  (Ton- 
nage  1677.) 

Captain  John  Easterbrook  went 
to  Sidney,  Australia,  and  owned 
and  commanded  a  vessel  on  that 
coast.  He  chartered  her  for  Bos- 
Ion,  bi'inging  with  him  all  of  his 
family,  but  his  ship  was  never 
heard  from  after  leaving  Australia. 

Captani  Danforth  Parker  was 
mastei  of  the  steamer  Chatham,  of 
the  outside  line.  (Boston  and  New 
York.) 

Captain  William  Chipman  com- 
manded barques  Azof,  Isaac  Jeanes, 
and  Idaho.  Mrs  Chipman  has  a 
painting  of  the  barque  Idaho. 

Captain  Francis  Bursley  was 
master  of  ships  Talisman,  Alert^ 
Skylark,  and  Pennant. 

One  of  the  Barnstable  (Oster- 
ville)  owners  in  shipping  was 
George  Lovell,  Esq.  Some  of  his 
vessels  occasionally  landed  run- 
away slaves  on  the  south  shore  of 
Cape  Cod.  They  were  then  passed 
along  by  the  "underground  rail- 
road" to  Barnstable  village,  and 
were  harbored  by  Mr  and  Mrs  Al- 
vin  Howes  and  Mr  and  Mrs  Ezekiel 
Thatcher,  well-known  Abolitionists. 
The  slaves  were  treated  as  equals^ 
but     sometimes     they  made     their 


way  to  "Mary  Dunn's  Road,"  where  ensign  in  the  United  States  navy 
they  found  rum  and  congenial  till  Lee  surrendered  to  General 
companions.  These  Abolitionists  Grant.  He  is  now  judge  of  pro- 
were  kindly  people,  with  strong  bate  for  Barnstable  county.  . 
convictions;  never  attending  All  of  the  captains  mentioned 
church,  because  the  sermons  never  were  known  to  me,  many  having 
condemned  slavery.  been  my  schoolmates;  and  all  but 
Some  of  these  shipping  notes  two  or  three  of  them  lived  in 
were  supplied  by  Judge  Freeman  Barnstable  village.  They  form, 
H.  Lothrop.  He  went  as  sailor  therefore,  only  a  small  part  of  the 
with  Captain  Herman  Foster  in  the  Gape  Cod  captains,  some  idea  of 
ship  Rutland.  On  his  return  he  whose  numbers  may  be  gained 
served  nine  months  in  the  army  from  the  fact  that  so  many  can 
during  the  Civil  war,  and  later  as  be  mentioned  from  a  single  village, 
acting    master's    mate    and     acting  F.  W.  Sprague. 


LIBRARY  OF  CAPE  COD  HISTORY  AND  GENEALOGY. 


No.    105.     Barnstable    Town   Records,  60  pp.,  $1.50 

No.  104.     Sandwich  and  Bourne,  Colony  and  Town  Records, 

36  pp.,  1.00 

No.  103.     Crowell  Families  of  Yarmouth,  16  pp.,  2.00 

Genealogies  by  James  W.  Hawes: 
No.   102.     William  Nickerson,   17  pp.,  .50 

No.  101.     Eldred,  Eldredge,  29  pp.,  1.00 

No.  100.     Nicholas  Busby,  8  pp.,  .25 

No.  99.     Atkins,  .75 

No.  98.     Ryder,  .75 

No.  97.    John  Munroe  and  Old  Barnstable,  by  Elizabeth 

Munroe,  135  pp.,  2.00 

No.  91.     Children   of   William   Nickerson,  16  pp.,  .50 

No.  90.     Covel,  9  pp.,  .50 

No.  89.     Hedges,  .25 

No.  96.     Ancient  Houses,   T.  P.  Howes,  6  pp.,  .50 

No.  95.     Dillingham  Family,  4  pp.,  .25 

No.  94.    "Hoppy"  Mayo,  Hero  of  Old  Eastham,  Michael 

Fitzgerald,  2  pp.,  .25 

No.  93.     Stone  Family,  Josiah  Paine,  4  pp.,  .25 

Brewster   Shipmasters,   Sears,   2d  edition,  cloth,  2.00 

''Cape  Cod,"  by  Charles  F.  Swift,  5.00 

No.  92.     The  English  Ancestry  of  Edmond  Haweg  of  Yar- 
mouth, Mass.,  1.00 
Yarmouth  Families  of — 
No.  88.    White,  .50 
No.  87.     Gorham,  .75 

1.00 
.50 
1.00 
.50 
.50 
.75 
.50 
.50 
1.50 


No. 

86. 

Bray, 

No. 

85. 

Bassett, 

No. 

84. 

Hallet, 

No. 

83. 

Crosby, 

No. 

82. 

Sturgis, 

No. 

81. 

Matthews 

No. 

80. 

Berry, 

No. 

79. 

Baxter, 

No. 

75. 

Taylor, 

No.  74.    Baker —   Descendants  of  Silas,  .50 

No.  73.    Baker —   Descendants   of  Francis,  1.50 
No.  78.    200th  Anniversary  Address,  Town  of  Chatham, 

Hawes,  .50 

No.  77.    The   Hinckleys  of  Truro,  Shebnah  Rich,  .50 

No.  76.    The  Lombards  of  Truro,  Shebnah  Rich,  .50 

No.  72.     Crowell—  Descendants  of  John,  1.00 

No.  71.    Crowell—  Descendants  of  Yelverton,  1.00 

No.  70.     Paine  or  Payne—  Truro,    Shebnah  Rich.  .75 

No.  69.     Cape   Cod   Sea   Reminiscences,     G.  V.  C,  .50 

All  publications  sent  postpaid  on  receipt  of  price. 

C.  W.  SWIFT,  Publisher, 

Yarmouthport,  Mass. 


PD     18  1 


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OOBBS  BROS. 

tlBRARY  BINDING 


ST.  AUGUSTINE 
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